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Phil Lopes - politican, professor, Peace Corps volunteer - West Hills College Coalinga

Representative Phil Lopes represented District 27 (West/southwest Tucson) in the Arizona State House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011. He served as the leader of house Democrats (minority leader) from 2005-2009.

Lopes was born and raised in Dos Palos and graduated from Dos Palos High School. He received his associate of arts in liberal arts in 1961 from Coalinga College, now West Hills College Coalinga. He served on the student council. It was while at Coalinga College that he heard about John Kennedy’s proposal to create the Peace Corps. He was encouraged to apply by Dean of Students Dr. Paul Pittman. The decision to apply was “the most important decision of my life in that the Peace Corps experience gave my life direction and formed the values with which I have lived my life including public service, and commitment to family and community," Lopes said.

Lopes was among the first 27 people invited to be a Peace Corps volunteer in 1961. He served in Colombia. He was the Director of Peace Corps in Ecuador and Brazil in the late 1970s.

He is currently a senior faculty member in a program to increase the knowledge and skills of the members of the parliament of the Republic of Mozambique. The program is sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures. He has traveled to Mozambique twice and will return in September 2012.

Lopes worked in the health sector in Arizona for more than 25 years as an administrator in both profit and non-profit organizations, as a health planner and as assistant director of the Arizona Dept. of Health Services.

He came to Tucson in 1969 to help start Pima Community College, Pima County Arizona’s first community college. He is a former senior lecturer at the University Of Arizona College Of Medicine, assistant director of the Rural Health Office, and is a founding faculty member of the University of Arizona College of Public Health.

He has a bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies from UCLA, and a master's degree in applied anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish. He and his wife Pam have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Lopes has authored or co-authored more than 20 articles and reports on health care services and financing, health care workforce and rural health care.


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